Family Council Joins Letter Opposing “Respect for Marriage Act”

On Tuesday Family Council joined 82 other conservative, grassroots organizations from across the country in urging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel (R — Ky.) to reject the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act,” H.R. 8404.

Among other things, H.R. 8404 fully repeals the Defense of Marriage Act and forces states to honor any definition of marriage that is recognized in another state. That raises serious questions about what happens to marriage laws in states like Arkansas if other states change their laws regarding polygamy or child marriages.

The measure also carries serious implications for Americans who still believe marriage is supposed to be the union of one man and one woman.

The letter to Sen. McConnel says,

The [Respect for Marriage] Act, which was suddenly rushed through the House without any public hearings or input, is an attack on millions of Americans, particularly people of faith, who believe marriage is between one man and one woman and that legitimate distinctions exist between men and women concerning family formation that should be recognized in the law. . . .

H.R. 8404 effectively deputizes activist groups to sue religious individuals, organizations, and businesses that operate according to their sincerely held religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman and also act “under color of state law.” The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized this as a term that might apply where a private organization participates in a joint activity with a state, is performing a function traditionally performed by the government, or even when its operations are entwined with government policies. Activists will argue this includes (1) faith-based foster care providers who are alleged to be performing a state function through child placement services; (2) religious social service organizations that are heavily funded by and work jointly with the government to serve their communities; and (3) religious organizations and businesses that provide services under contract with the government. Although the issues to be litigated would be many, there is no question the proposed Act subjects religious people, businesses, and organizations to countless new lawsuits merely for practicing their faith.

The letter also notes that if passed, the IRS could use the “Respect for Marriage Act” to target churches and charities that believe in a biblical definition of marriage.

The House of Representatives hastily passed H.R. 8404 last week, one day after it was introduced. The proposal received 47 Republican votes. Most of the Republicans in the Senate have yet to take a position on the measure.

We’ve heard time and again about Christian photographersbakersflorists, and wedding chapel owners being investigated and dragged into court because they declined to take part in a same-sex wedding or ceremony. Sometimes the Christian business owners win their cases. Other times they lose.

Passing the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act” could simply make situations like these worse.

Justices Thomas and Alito Speak Out on Obergefell and Religious Freedom

John Stonestreet, Radio Host and President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

On the first day of its new term, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the Obergefell decision, which mandated same-sex marriage on the nation..

Justices Thomas and Alito, while agreeing with the court’s denial of appeal, issued a remarkable accompanying opinion stating bluntly that Obergefell has had “ruinous consequences for religious liberty.”

Because of Obergefell, wrote the Justices, believers in traditional marriage are easily labeled “bigots, making their religious liberty concerns that much easier to dismiss.”

It’s a conflict putting lives and livelihoods at risk, and it must be addressed.

Or, as Justices Thomas and Alito put it: “By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right [to same-sex marriage] over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment… the Court has created a problem that only it can fix.”

Sounds like a gauntlet has been thrown.

Copyright 2020 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from BreakPoint.org with permission.

Trump Administration Sides With Christian Photographer

We’ve heard time and again about Christian photographers, bakers, florists, and wedding chapel owners being dragged into court because they declined to take part in a same-sex wedding or ceremony.

Sometimes the Christian business owners win their cases. Other times they lose.

These court cases often center on local ordinances or state laws that give people special privileges or protections based on sexual-orientation or gender identity.

During the Obama Administration, we saw wave after wave of radical LGBT policies rolled out at the federal level.

However, we seem to be experiencing a little bit of a reprieve under the Trump Administration.

Recently the U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in a federal court in Kentucky arguing that the government cannot force a Christian photographer to photograph a same-sex wedding.

Alliance Defending Freedom is handling a lawsuit on behalf of photographer Chelsey Nelson over the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro “Fairness Ordinance.”

The ordinance grants special rights and privileges to people based on sexual-orientation and gender identity.

In the federal government’s statement about the lawsuit, the U.S. Attorney General’s office wrote,

The United States is committed to protecting the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment, which include both the right to “the free exercise” of religion and “the freedom of speech.” . . . These freedoms lie at the heart of a free society and are the “effectual guardian of every other right.”

The statement goes on to say that forcing Chelsey Nelson to photograph a same-sex wedding would violate her First Amendment rights and that she probably would win any court case over the issue.

We have said before that religious liberty is a casualty of the radical efforts to redefine marriage.

Thankfully, the federal government is siding withe people of faith right now.

Hopefully this court case will result in better protections for the free exercise of religion in the future.